Whole 30 – Round 5 Recipes

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I thought I’d throw a new post out here to add a few recipes from our 5th Roud of the Whole 30. This post will likely grow over the next week or two, so check back…

Whole 30 Taco Meat – So I don’t take credit for this Taco Seasoning other than I’ve made some change to it that I enjoy. The source is here. I use this on or off the Whole 30 and love this over buying store-bought options that have a lot of junk in them!


  • 2 lbs. ground beef, preferably grass-fed or organic
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper


  1. In a small bowl combine all of the spices, keep this on the side. I also like to make a double batch and store one in the cabinet in a sealed container. Makes it so much easier next time you want tacos.
  2. Add the beef to a pan (original recipe called for a slow cooker) and brown on medium then drain off the excess juices and turn the heat down to low
  3. Add tomato paste (I use the whole small can not 3 tables spoons)
  4. Add spices to the pan, use a spoon to mix up the ingredients
  5. Add a 14.5oz can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes and roughly a cup of water or more until you get the consistency you like (not in the original recipe). I grab the tomatoes from Trader Joes.
  6. Serve in Taco Salad, Taco Lettuce boats or if you are not on Whole 30 in whatever vessel you choose!

Whole30 Isn’t Always More Expensive

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Over the years I’ve heard a lot of different things about eating healthy but the main thing I continue to hear is it’s more expensive.  Doing the Whole30 and cooking your own meals doesn’t have to be more expensive than what you are doing today. Prior to starting the Whole30 (Round 2) I’d gone back to all of my old ways of eating poorly. Looking at a typical day at the office the following is what I would often spend:

  • $3.25 to $6.50 coffee drink in the morning, ranged from an iced coffee to a Venti Salted Caramel Mocha
  • $3.00 bagel for Breakfast
  • $5.00 to $12.00 on Lunch, this often included the unhealthy meal I chose and a soda
  • $1.89 Soda and $1.50 Chips

I’m not proud of this but it’s the direction I was headed in just 21 days ago. Basically from when I got to work to when I got home I was spending between $14 and $25 in one day. Now don’t get me wrong some days I skipped the morning bagel and some days the chips or soda didn’t happen but generally I was spending $50 to $75 a week. My wife and I each had allotted $40 a week for lunches and coffee, kind of an allowance for adults. As you can see I was however going over this allowance.

With the Whole30 we generally take our lunches every day and spend $3.25 on coffee in the mornings. So $3.25 x 2 of us x 5 days = $32.50. We are spending less than half of what we were prior to the Whole30 during the weekdays.

Yes there are still groceries to buy and they do cost more than they did before. We are buying more fruits, vegetables and better meat and often shopping at Hy-Vee or Whole Foods. One thing about the Whole30 though is you don’t have a lot of food waste. Specifically you are bringing your own lunch, either something you made for that meal or in many cases leftovers from the night before. Also if you are like me and were eating far more calories than you should have been then you are likely still a little hungry on this program. It might even be the first time in two years that I’ve known what its like to be hungry and I think that’s OK. Nothing that is Whole30 approved goes bad in our household, we eat what we cook either that day or in the two to three days after. The food waste from leaving perfectly good leftovers in order to eat out doesn’t happen on this program.

Looking at Weekends we each love our coffee and so most weekends we were spending around $40 at Starbucks. That sounds like a lot but two coffee drinks, plus a muffin, a gluten free item for my wife, hot chocolate and cake pop for my son, apple squeeze for my daughter and multiply that by two days and it sure adds up quickly. Now with the Whole30 it’s more like $20 max on the weekends.

Last but not least is eating out. With a family of four if you can get out of a restaurant for under $30 to $40 it’s impressive. Likely if you add in a beer or cocktail each it gets closer to $50 or $60. Prior to the Whole30 we were eating out two to three times a week if you include dinners and lunches on the weekends. On this program you can’t have alcohol and although you can eat out it’s much easier to make your own meals at home. I’d say so far we’ve eaten out twice for dinner in 20 days and once each for lunch. So we are cooking our own meals, eating the leftovers and wasting less food because instead of forgetting meals in the fridge they are eaten the next day.

Depending on how you were doing things prior to the Whole30 I think even with that Whole Foods bill if you are smart with what you buy you can actually break even or save money doing the Whole30. In the long run if you develop a healthier lifestyle through this program you probably save money in other areas as a result,  one example being healthcare.

Thanks for reading (Well if you’ve made it this far, this blog post might be a little long winded but well I had a lot to share). I hope if you are on the program it is going well and if you are considering it I would highly recommend it. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or reach out to me with any questions.



Whole30 Day 7 – What do you miss

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7daysHaving done the Whole30 before I think in most cases it allowed me to know what to expect. We spent NYE with friends enjoying excellent Craft Beer, plenty of cheese and pretty much everything else you can’t eat or drink during these 30 days. Unlike friends I know who are planning to eat healthier in 2016 we didn’t take one more day on January 1st, we jumped in headfirst.

So far these are the things I’m missing and/or the obstacles I’ve faced:

  • My weekly bagel that recently had become my every morning bagel. Obviously I don’t need a bagel every morning but it was something easy and rather inexpensive to grab each day.
  • My once to twice weekly lunch at Chipotle. Actually maybe this is a blessing in disguise given their current issues. I generally do a bowl here but I’m not a huge fan of the salads so I’ll likely skip this for homemade options.
  • The candy on our admin assistants desk. It’s still there but I can no longer grab it which is easier each day I walk by it.
  • Beer. Not so much the beer itself, I don’t crave alcohol but I do like the social aspect especially in our neighborhood. Of course you can hang out without a beer it’s just odd going to a restaurant to watch football and only ordering water. Pretty sure I’ll do it though.
  • The breaks from my desk to grab $6 over priced salted caramel mochas from Starbucks. I actually don’t miss the expense and my body so far is very happy without the calories. I still grab my black iced coffee there because I like the people and the mental break it provides.
  • Cheese & Triscuits. Sadly this was one of my favorite late night snack and it wasn’t a healthy one at all.

As I discussed with my wife the other day I’d gradually gone back to all of my bad habits and more from before we initially did the Whole30. I was drinking multiple sodas, grabbing snacks I didn’t need and often eating just to eat or out pure boredom or stress. It’s hard to admit that publicly but it’s where I was at.

Again long term my goal is to be healthy for me and for my family. I’m not giving up pizza, beer and cheese for life but I’m going to be a healthier person so I can be around for my family.


Whole30 Recipes

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 Day 5 BreakfastSweet Potato, Apple and Pancetta Hash Twitter
I’ve included the link to the recipe in the title above and you can also follow her on Twitter here: @gutsybynature. This dish made for an excellent breakfast at the office and I can’t wait to have it again.

Day 11 Dinner – Fajita (Soup?)*

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halved before cooking (could use chicken thighs as well)
  • 1(14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 each red, green, orange bell peppers, julienned
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tsp chili powder 
  • 2 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper 
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime squeezed (equal to 1 average sized lime cut in half and squeezed 

Put all ingredients in a Dutch oven and cook in the oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees. 

Also noted was slow cooker 6 – 8 hours but I haven’t tried that.

Plate and top with cilantro and avocado 

Prep time 15 minutes, yields around 9 fajitas if not using as a soup.

You can remove the chicken and slice it up or just use it as is. 

*This isn’t my recipe but I can’t find the source!

Day 15 DinnerChocolate Chili from Well Fed. This may have been one of my favorite recipes thus far and it was super easy and relatively inexpensive to make. Modifications:  We didn’t do the additional cup of water and I don’t think it needed it. 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa instead on 1 and a half. 2 large onions instead of 2 medium ones. I chopped them up really fine and cooked them probably an additional 6 minutes or so. 

Day 15 AppetizerSpicy Drumsticks from Paleoleap. Due to some confusion I ended up with 20 fresh chicken legs from Whole Foods instead of the smaller drumsticks. I’d probably do the drumsticks next time but it was an excellent rub for chicken legs as well. Used the recipe here with 6 chicken legs instead of the 10 drumsticks. We ate this alongside the chili above.

Day 18 BreakfastSweet Potato Quiche

Made with shallots instead of onions, this was amazing. 1st egg dish where I didn’t really need the hot sauce.

Whole30 Round 2 – Time to make some long term changes

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IMG_1769According to my Instagram account it’s been 86 weeks since I wrapped up my 1st run at the #Whole30, a successful experience overall. Much of this is thanks to my wife Kristen for doing it with me and because she did the majority of cooking and prep work involved in the meals.

Some of the positives included

  • Dropped 27 Pounds in 30 days
  • Stopped drinking soda and eating junk food
  • Didn’t drink alcohol for 30 days
  • Didn’t eat any sugar other than those found in fruits for 30 days
  • Felt much better
  • Developed some better eating habits and found new recipes we continued to use post #Whole30 


The Whole 30 was my no means any easy experience but overall I loved it. The food we ate tasted great, as noted above I felt better, I lost weight and changed a lot of my eating habits at least for a while. One of the more interesting experiences (captured in a pizza photo in the collage amongst my healthier photos) was doing the Peddle Pub while on the Whole 30. In case you don’t know what that is it’s a moving pub that you peddle from bar to bar while also drinking as you peddle. I had signed up to do this before starting or even thinking about the Whole 30 and well I didn’t want to let my friends down. As a result I am probably one of very small group of people to do the Peddle Pub stone cold sober drinking my Coconut Water and eating grapes from a bag if I remember correctly. The last stop was a pizza place and at that point I was done.

Over the course of the 30 days my wife and I stuck to the rules of the Whole30 and there were days where it was easy and others where at least I know I struggled to stick with it.

Post Whole30

Once the Whole30 was over I gradually went back to drinking beer and eating the foods I’d missed like pizza, hamburgers, taco’s, etc. I went a while before drinking soda and eating Doritos again but gradually I went back to my old ways. Over the next year and a half (or 86 weeks as Instagram indicates) I managed to gain the 27 pounds back I’d lost and I lost back along with another  10 to 15 pounds on top of that. No I am not going to tell you where that puts me but let’s just say it’s frustrating to know where I could be if I’d at least kept up some of what I learned on the Whole30.


Whole30 Round 2

In December of 2015 my wife who has already been working hard to lose weight and has been successful at it suggested we do the Whole30 again. I jumped at the chance but like any change such as this you often pick a date and like most people I still wanted to indulge on New Year’s Eve. We chose 1/1/2016 as day one, rather than sitting around lazy on New Year’s Day we would start on a 30 day voyage into healthier eating habits for the 2nd time. As of this post we are on day 2, so yeah we have a long ways to go.

Things I plan to do differently this time

  • Add exercise to the Whole 30, last time we had a new baby and so I didn’t spend a lot of time exercising during the 30 days. I’d like to start with 2 to 3 days a week and see where it takes me.
  • Talk more about the experience with others. Last time I kept the Whole30 to Instagram where at the time I had very few followers and I’ve found that talking about something like this can drive you to be more successful.
  • Not going back to soda and junk food after the 30 days are over. Sure post Whole30 a Cherry Coke might still be an option if I attend a movie but I can’t let soda, Doritos and other foods like that back into my everyday life.
  • Be realistic after the 30 days are up, allow myself to enjoy the things I like but in moderation. Saying I will eat like I am going to eat for the next 30 days for the rest of my life is unrealistic. The Whole30 long term at least in my opinion is not sustainable.

I believe overall the Whole30 is a fantastic way to jump start yourself into a healthier lifestyle. It’s not a gimmick diet, it’s about changing the way you eat, really looking at what you are putting in your body. Having been overweight most of my life I’ve never been successful at losing weight and keeping it off. Recently having turned 38 I’ve realized that I can’t sustain this lifestyle and be here for my wife and two kids. Eventually the poor choices will get the best of me so it’s time to change. I’m hoping this will be the 1st of many positive posts on this subject.



Being a stay at home dad / searching for jobs

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Well I’ve always had a big respect for stay at home mom’s but my new found role has made me appreciate them and the men who say at home with their kids even more.  Not sure if I mentioned this in another post but Colson is now home with me three days a week while I search for a full time or contract position.  The other two days of the week I search for jobs full time while he is at daycare.  That being said the day I find something he will be back in daycare full time.  I’m not saying I don’t cherish this time with him, in fact it’s been real treat minus his newfound refusal to nap, but we really see a lot of benefits in daycare.  We love the daycare he goes to and well they love and miss him. I’m not a huge fan of too much TV time at his age so being home with him means I need to plan activities and keep him happy and occupied for 8+ hours a day.  Today that activity was two hours at the community center playing basketball while at the same time trying to keep up with e-mails and calls from recruiters on my smart phone.  The afternoon activity so far is Colson dancing around the house thanks to the Raffi station on Pandora, thank God it isn’t all Raffi. Yeah he didn’t take a nap again. He has now switched to playing with his train table as I type!

So basically being a stay at home parent is a full time job and so is job hunting. Between updating LinkedIn, Monster, Career Builder, Twitter, Resume’s and Cover Letters and filling out some of the most time consuming applications (Taleo your systems are not user-friendly) the day is gone. Oh and yes I mentioned Twitter which is a great way to network and learn about new jobs especially if you have any idea of specific companies you want to work for. I tried explaining this to someone the other day who doesn’t buy into Social Networking and well I don’t think he understood why a company would Tweet open positions, I sure do. People that like your products or your company as a whole might just be the dedicated workers you are looking for.

The job hunting process this time has been positive so far due to support of my recent employer, friends, family and yes recruiters. The majority of recruiters I have encountered on this go around have been extremely helpful, actually met with a great one yesterday. So many people are so negative about the economy and the job market but I’m really positive about it all.  I see a lot of awesome jobs out there, it’s just getting in front of those hiring managers and proving yourself.  It’s also very easy to stay positive when your child is at home and Pandora is belting out Don’t Worry Be Happy from the Best of Bobby McFerrin.  Ok time to get back to parenting and I don’t think anyone is reading this blog at this point. Tonight I’ll probably hit up Starbucks or Caribou to write a cover letter or two.



Back from vacation and back at it

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Before leaving my previous employer we had a family vacation planned to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday, so the job hunt went on hold at least partially for five days.  It’s always nice to see family and when it includes 70 degree + weather including one day that topped 80 leaving the winter behind in Minnesota wasn’t too tough. I must admit Palm Desert California is an amazing place to visit in the dead of winter. I Spent day one back in Saint Paul with Colson which was a treat.  Heck he even slept in and took a full two hour nap which allowed me to get some work done.  I made an awful meatloaf that Kris swears was good, at least the mashed potatoes were decent.  Now I am back at my local Caribou again looking online for that perfect job!  I figured I would take a quick break to update this blog which so far only spammers are visiting.  So as a result I installed Akismet and we will see how that works to stop the SPAM.  On the WordPress front I did update WordPress for Multisite the other day. I have a few other blog site ideas one a domain I have been sitting on for years and another I purchased late last week and supposedly Multisite will allow me to build them all under one WordPress install.

Cheers for now!


New Found Free Time?

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So much for that new found free time!  Day one of the job search went well, I reached out to some contacts and I’ve finally updated my resume.  They always say you should keep your resume up to date but what fun would that be. There’s no challenge in that now is there.  Today was day two of the job search and also my first day having Colson home with me. We’ve scaled back his daycare just a little while I find my next exciting challenge.  So he will be home with me a couple of days a week until then.  It’s awesome spending the extra time with him but I was banking on his nap time to apply for a couple of jobs I found last night and to update Twitter and possibly even work on this site.  I spent some time with WordPress a year or so ago and figured this would be a good time to give it another go.  I started out out with a template I found and eventually would like to build by own in due time.  I might have to brush on my CSS a little as that’s not something I have been using every day as a Project Manager.  Well cheers for now it seems my nephew has a cross country ski race at Como and I should cherish these days while I have them.